As part of a class focusing on Narrative Structure, my teammate and I made a stop-motion animation short film that follows a clear narrative arc, with a building plot. For this stop motion video, we started with the idea to use gummy bears and used inspiration from Toy Story to bring the gummy bears to life, in a world that co-exists with humans. The gummy bears are too small to function in a world built for humans but with a little teamwork, they can do anything!
I was responsible for the original idea, storyboard, and stop-motion animation of the project, while my partner edited the sound and created the original soundtracks. We worked collaboratively to receive feedback, and ensure that we were both on the same page.
This process began with seeing how the gummy bears could move, and interact with “human-sized” objects. Experimenting with string, wire, fishing line, and clay we tried to see how they could be manipulated in a way that told the story of our narrative.
To plan our narrative, I drew out a detailed storyboard to lay out each shot and angle. Visualizing our concept through drawings and notes helped to see what was important to show to tell our story. This helped to ensure that every angle, and shot was necessary to the plot and helped to propel the story forward. Taking into consideration the types of angles and continuity of the scenes beforehand was an essential planning stage that helped us narrow down our story and translate our rough ideas onto paper.
To test the more technical aspects I took some photos experimenting with lighting, subject positioning, and shot composition to see how we could bring the gummy bears to life. Many attempts were made using various wires, double-sided tape, string, and even paperclips to make the gummy bears move, climb, and even fly!
The lighting of our set was important, to hide shadows and keep each shot looking clean. Multiple lamps were set up to give the scene a glow from all different angles.
Overall I’m quite proud of the way the video turned out. I think the narrative was simple to remain within the time limit but the way we visualized the story is what brought it to life. The subtle animation, movement, and emotion of the gummy bears are the smaller details that made the story resonate with audiences. If I had more time I would have added mixed media on top of the photos to better illustrate the sound turning on and off. This would have added more emphasis to the purpose of the plot and made for a more effective storytelling technique.